Sarge The Puppy Mill Survivor Learns How To Be A Schnauzer!
Sarge's Rescue Story
I've done Miniature Schnauzer rescue for close to 20 years now. I never know when I'll receive a call for help. On October 18, 2015, I received a text message saying a puppy mill breeder was selling off dogs. There was a Schnauzer in the bunch – did I want him? Something in my heart made me say yes. The rescuer at the auction paid for the dog for me and transported him to a local rescue who agreed to hold him for me until I could pick him up.
The next day I went to the rescue to meet the tiny little Liver Parti colored Miniature Schnauzer. I stood at eye level in front of his open cage. He stood staring at me, shaking violently in fear. I grabbed my phone and turned on some soothing Katrina Parker music in the background to try and help calm him. I stood in front of his cage talking softly to him for about 15 minutes before I dared try and touch him. He allowed me to pet his back then as I continued talking. We kept going in this manner for close to an hour, at which time I made the decision to just pick him up. When I did so, he was still shaking but eventually started to calm down. After he finally stopped shaking, I decided to go for it and try to give him a bath. (I was in the grooming building of the rescue and they had great equipment right there). The little guy seemed to enjoy the bath! At least he completely tolerated it without any sign of stress. I toweled him dry and snuggled him for a long time before returning him to his kennel. (I could not take him home that day because I had to be away from home).
On Wednesday, I returned to pick up my newest little rescue. He wagged his tail when he saw me! I went straight to picking him up after petting and talking to him for a brief time. Into the car in a kennel and off to home and a new life!
What's A Lap?
I named this little guy Sarge because I thought such a tiny, timid little boy needed a tough guy name! Sarge walked into a whole new world when we arrived at home! He met my two Schnauzer girls, SueSue and Ladybug. He walked around exploring for quite awhile and eventually came over to me – very gradually – wanting to be petted (photo below). I picked him up and put him on my lap and he decided that was his new happy place!
Sarge has had so many "firsts" in his two weeks here! His first time walking around in a back yard, first time experiencing rain, first time getting a hug, wearing a collar, getting in a dog bed, and so much more!
Sarge Learns To Accept A Treat From Me!
Sarge Goes To The Vet!
Sarge had a rabies vaccination but nothing else. He needed medical care urgently so I took him to our vet where he received a complete exam, lab testing, all his vaccinations and heartworm testing (which was, thankfully, negative).
Sarge received a clean bill of health except for one problem – his six black, rotten, nasty teeth! He has tartar deposits on them so huge from seven years of accumulation. One of them is so big it can be felt on the outside of his jaw, the size of a small grape. Unreal, yes? I was told that they mix sawdust in with the dogs' food at puppy mills to stretch the food, reducing their costs. How horrible.
Sarge needs to have the rotten teeth removed. He has a gum infection and irritation in his mouth from the hard tartar deposits. We are currently running a fundraiser to raise the more than $800 needed to do his dental surgery at http://www.gofundme.com/Sarge1015. We would greatly appreciate sharing of his link with your social media!
Your Opinion Please!
Where Do You Stand On Rescue Dogs?
Common Challenges & Solutions With Rescue Dogs
You May Not Fix...
Fear of Certain People
Make introductions gradually in a quiet place, one person at a time. Don't ever force an introduction on a scared or reluctant dog! It will only make matters worse. The key is repeated exposure to a person in a non threatening way and time – lots of it.
If the dog has been abused by a certain type of person, this fear may never go away..
No Potty Training
I use a belly band on males to discourage marking. I use toddler training pants on either boys or girls. I take them out to potty using the words "let's go potty" about every two hours.
Marking in males if it's a well ingrained habit. Use belly bands to protect your home.
Always feed a rescue dog separately until you are certain there are no food aggression issues.
Once bonded to you, your rescue dog may be fearful in certain situations for example being left at the vet's, the groomer's, or at home while you are away. I always kennel my rescue dogs when I leave the house.
Extreme separation is very difficult to cure.
Fear of Kennel
If the dog has lived mostly in a kennel, s/he may not want to go back into one! Since I like all of my rescues to be kennel trained, I try to make the kennel a wonderful place filled with comfy bedding, toys, and of course food and water. I also give the dog a special treat whenever I put them into the kennel. That way it becomes a more positive experience for them.
Sarge's Journey Into Doghood!
Here are some of the milestones Sarge has achieved!